Roy Ratcliff is an ordinary minister of Jesus Christ with a little church in Wisconsin called Mandrake Road Church of Christ. It is small enough to not even have its own website. But a story today reminds us that being an ordinary minister for Jesus is to do extraordinary, even bizarre things. Roy Ratcliff became Jeffrey Dahmer’s minister, baptizing him, counseling him, befriending him, mourning him when he was killed not too long after his conversion. And he paid a price:
People would walk away when introduced to him or argue that they wanted no part of a heaven that included Jeffrey Dahmer. He was rarely invited to other churches to talk about the salvation of the least of us because, he guesses, “there is a sense of shame.”
At gatherings of preachers, he says, one minister from Milwaukee constantly points him out to others and says: Do you know who that man is? Do you know what he did?
“I’ve become a little bit jaded by the hypocrisy,” Ratcliff says.
But not too jaded:
Ratcliff says he is a better man for having known Jeffrey Dahmer but knows that some people will have trouble understanding this. He says he now visits several prisons a month. He says he has a keener understanding of faith, and of mercy.
In the best possible way, Ratcliff is a “Jesus freak”. The truth is that we need more freaks like him.